Scent Printing

The human sense of smell is the strongest and most primal of all our senses. It is also closely connected to memory and emotion centers in the brain. As a result, certain scents evoke certain feelings, and when we associate a scent with something, it stays with us. “A major attribute of scent, and one of its strongest merits, is its literal power to affect human perception,” says C. Russell Brumfield, author of Whiff! The Revolution of Scent Communication in the Information Age.

It may seem odd to add scents like leather, mown grass or baby powder to a printed piece, but consumers react to those scents. The truth is, utilizing scent in your marketing yields big dividends.

Consumers can not only SEE your printed piece, they can FEEL it and SMELL it, and when you engage multiple senses, they will REMEMBER it.

Did You Know

  • Studies have shown that consumer scent recall is significantly greater than image recall
  • When Yankee Candle added scent to its catalog, sales increased 18%
  • Mitsubishi placed a scratch and sniff ad in two major newspapers that simulated the leather smell that consumers love and associate with a new car; as a result, the Lancer Evo X sold out in two weeks, and Mitsubishi’s annual sales of the vehicle increased 16% in a market that averaged a 20% decline
  • GfK MRI researched 6,514 magazine ads during a four-month period – just 49 used scented paper but they were more successful in grabbing reader attention: on average, 64% of readers read one of the scented paper ads, compared to 54% of readers who read any of the ads, representing a 19% lift in advertising “stopping power”
  • Researchers at Washington State University discovered that people spent 20% more while shopping in the presence of one simple scent (orange, in this case) compared with those shopping with no scent or more complex scents (e.g. orange-basil blended with green tea)
  • Certain scents can be used to evoke certain emotions in consumers, including safety, relaxation, attention, affluence, nostalgia, and openness

What Is Scent Printing?

Scent printing is most effectively created with UV coatings and includes various fragrance delivery methods that can be printed on gift cards, credit cards, packaging, retail POP displays, book covers, greeting cards, postcards, brochures, magazine inserts, signs, displays, and labels:

  • Scratch-n-Sniff / Rub-n-Smell: Most people are familiar with these more common types of scent. They incorporate encapsulated fragrance into a vehicle. When scratched or rubbed, the capsules break and release the scent. However, this technology has come a long way over the years. The density of capsules and amount of fragrance released has dramatically improved, making the scent last much longer (think years) and increasing the number of interactions that release scent. These scents are best applied to coated paper stock and plastics.
  • Non-interactive Scent: these scents are applied to un-coated or coated paper stock and will emit a fragrance without being scratched or rubbed. These reach consumers whether they interact with the printed piece or not, and don’t require a “scratch here” type label.

Incredible & Customizable Scent Variety

There are over 100 stock scents available to choose from here. If you don’t see something you are looking for, just ask us. The list we publish is just a start. Any common scent can be created by our lab partners even if it’s not listed or hasn’t been created in the past. And, using your fragrance oil, we can develop any scent for printing! Lead times will increase for custom scents, but not significantly.

Scent Printing Example

A liquor company was launching a new Raspberry flavored Vodka and wanted to get creative. They contacted us and, with a sample of the new vodka in our hands (and a few drops in our mouths, of course), we developed their custom scent.

We then applied the scent to recipe cards which gave consumers ideas for mixed drinks using the new vodka as an ingredient. The recipe cards were distributed through direct mail, at trade shows and at liquor stores across the country, creating demand for this new product and increasing consumer recall when exposed to it again. The result was increased ROI on their print spend, and a successful new product launch that will pay off for many years to come!

Scent Printing Process

A non-aqueous varnish must be applied before the scent. H&H Graphics can apply this varnish or you can do it before sending sheets to us. If you wish to apply the varnish yourself, please get us a sample for testing prior to production. This will allow us to make sure your varnish will not react with our ink. There is no charge for testing.

Our lead time to order ink, make the screen and complete the job is 1-2 weeks depending on the quantity of sheets to go on our press. Please call for price quotes and we can give more specific lead times then.

Contact us to learn more about scented specialty printing

Some Examples Of Our Scent Printing Work

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Scent Printing Specifications


  • For automatic presses: minimum 70# text max 30 pt. board
  • No textiles or apparel
  • Flat surface

Art Work

  • Area to be screen printed should be 100% solid black (no screens or half tones)
  • In position for entire sheet with crop marks
  • We prefer PDF format

Minimum Order Quantity

  • 500 sheets for fully automatic
  • Otherwise $750

Sheet Size

  • Fully automatic: minimum size: 15″ x 22″; maximum size 28″ x 40″
  • Semi-Automatic: no minimum size; maximum size: 25″ x 38″
  • Please allow 3/4″ to 1″ for gripper


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